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Sierra Leone: Humanitarian Situation Report Aug 2003

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Situation Report
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Originally published


SECURITY HIGHLIGHTS
According to UNAMSIL, the overall security situation in the country is calm.

SLP arrests armed robbers in Freetown

The SLP arrested four soldiers and seven civilians in possession of one rifle and live rounds ammunition at Up-gun in eastern Freetown. Investigation is in progress.

Military officials to be retired

About 1,000 military officials who have reached the age of 55 years would be retired by the end of the year as part of the restructuring program of the army. The four-year program intends to reduce the size of the army from 13,800 troops to 10,500 by the end of 2007. The retired officials will get benefits and resettlement package.

SLP trains drivers

The first batch of 21 police drivers completed a four-week training at Waterloo in Freetown. By December 2004, 460 new police drivers would have undergone training.

A new accommodation complex for RSLAF education center at Wilberforce Barracks

Through the initiative of the IMATT commander, Brigadier Adrain Freer, the International Military Advisory and training team constructed a student accommodation complex at the Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown. The complex was officially opened on 12 August and is meant to accommodate military students in Adult literacy and numeracy courses.

SLP clears street traders off the main streets in Freetown

The Sierra Leone Police carried out an exercise named "Operation Free Flow" in order to clear the main streets of Freetown of street trading, junk vehicles and shabby stalls that have for long contributed to restricting of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the city. Though the exercise initially encountered some reaction from the street traders, the operation seems successful, as the main streets of Freetown have been decongested.

DONOR HIGHLIGHTS

United Nation Agencies in Sierra Leone held memorial service for victims of explosion in Iraq

In a solemn ceremony, members of the United Nations Agencies in Sierra Leone gathered at the UNAMSIL headquarter on Friday 22 August in a memorial tribute for their colleagues who died in the 19 August explosion of the United Nations office in Baghdad, Iraq. While expressing his condolence on behalf of government, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Mohamed L Kamara condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. The Acting SRSG, Mr. Alan Doss in his tribute recalled the late Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ambassador Sergio Viera De Mello, as a truly remarkable and outstanding civil servant.

Sierra Leone Appeal 2004

UNOCHA in partnership with the UN Country Team, INGOs, NGOs and government representatives continued work on the Sierra Leone Consolidated Appeal 2004. The first draft was produced this month and is been reviewed by UN agency Heads for the final production.

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Fourth State of the Nation's Symposium held in Freetown

The Ministry of information and Broadcasting organized a two-week long Fourth State of the Nation's Symposium at the Atlantic Hall at the National Stadium in Freetown. The symposium brought forth the Ministers of the various ministries as well as heads of commissions to give an account of development issues within their ministries, highlighting achievements and challenges. It also gave the public the opportunity to dialogue with their stewards on key development issues.

A New British High Commissioner for Sierra Leone

The new British High Commissioner assigned to Sierra Leone, Dr. John Mitchiner, presented his credentials to President Kabbah at the presidential lodge on Friday 22 August. In his maiden speech, Dr. Mitchiner reaffirmed Britain's commitment to peace and democracy in Sierra Leone, and highlighted the need to establish control over the diamond area and to tackle corruption, amongst other problems in the country.

Local Government elections slated for March 2004

In furthering the process of decentralization, the district and local council elections have been slated for March 2004.

Cabinet meeting held in Bo

President Kabbah held the GOSL mobile cabinet meeting in Bo, the southern province capital, on Thursday 7 August. Rumors of planned disruption by the local militia (Karmajor) were amicably defused at a prior meeting with the President on Wednesday night. The issues of teachers' unpaid salaries and the rising cost of the staple food, rice, were key concerns of the public. The president blamed the non-payment of salaries on the failure by their employing authorities to properly communicate with the ministry of Education, but promised to address the issue. On the rising cost of rice, he explained that it was due the impact of the rise in dollar value on the liberalized trade process of the country. Also during their meeting, the president launched the book titled "The Sierra Leone Constitution for the Layman" written by Dr Peter L Tucker. He also commissioned one water bouser to the Bo Town Council.

The southern region representatives identified salient developmental program to include road network, updating the pipe borne water supply system and electricity, improving health care delivery services, mining activities and agriculture in the region.

Boundary dispute between Nieni chiefdom in Koinadugu and Sandor chiefdom in Kono district leads to violence

The boundary dispute between the Nieni and Sandor chiefdoms resulted to the recent burning of houses in both chiefdoms. Some Police were deployed in the area to forestall further attacks. The Resident Ministers East and North and stakeholders in the area were to meet in Makeni on the 1 September to settle the dispute.

Mono River Bridge reopened

President Kabba indicated that the Mano River Bridge would be open to enable the movement of humanitarian assistance across the border. The border bridge is open only to pedestrian traffic at this time in order to help prevent import of looted goods.

President Kabbah launches Kono Peace Diamond Alliance

The President launched the Kono Peace Diamond Alliance in Kono on 27 August. The organization is aimed at improving the legal aspects and profitability of diamond mining in the country. The Alliance comprises of representative of the Government of Sierra Leone, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), industry experts, and the community people.

Former Police Inspector General and Chief Electoral Commissioner for the May 2002 elections, die in London

The former Police Inspector General Mr. Walter O Nicol, who as Chief Electoral Commissioner took this country through the last May 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections, died on 23 August, in London, where he was being treated for Cancer of the throat. The President opened a book of condolence on 1 September at the National Electoral Commission Office in Freetown, followed by the Vice President and Ministers. He was 57 years old.

Remains of former President J S Momoh laid to rest

Former President Joseph Momoh died in Guinea on 12 August and was given a state funeral on 24 August in Freetown. The President, Vice President, and the Speaker of the House were amongst the crowd of government officials who paid their respects, prior to opening a condolence book at the State House.

Rokel commercial bank reopened in Kono

The diamond district of Kono has been relieved of the dire need of a banking service by the reopening of the Rokel Commercial Bank that was closed due to the war.

Celtel now in Kono

In another development, CELTEL telephone company launched their services in the district this month. This has contributed to make it easier for Government officials, humanitarian agencies, businessmen and the people of Kono to communicate with all parts of the country as well as the rest of the world.

Residents of the South meet with Sierra Mineral Holdings to discuss social impacts of the mining activities on their community

A meeting was called in Bo on 15 August between all stakeholders of Bo, Bonthe and Moyamba Districts, and Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited (SML) in relation to the reactivation of the Bauxite and Rutile mines in the region. The deliberations included environmental impact, surface rents, community benefits, rehabilitation of previous mining sites, roles and responsibilities of SML and many more.

President Kabbah commissioned the Moyamba Junction market

President Kabbah officially commissioned the newly constructed modern market at Moyamba Junction, Fakunia Chiefdom on 6 August. The Government through NaCSA funded the market construction. The market which is strategically located to link the city to the east and southern regions will provide a safe and conducive atmosphere for trading, and the protection of goods from environmental hazards. A highlight of the occasion was the disbursement of micro credit loans in the district to the tune of Le 22M to deserving businesswomen by the Director of SAPA.

SPECIAL COURT

The public questions the relevance of the Special Court

Due to the death of Foday Sankoh and the unconfirmed death of Sam Bockarie and Johnny Paul Koroma, there has been increasing discussions over the relevance of the Special Court. Some Sierra Leoneans are of the view that the Court is losing its relevance, as the 'so called' main players are no longer available for prosecution. In an attempt to apprise the public on the relevance of the Court, the Special Court has embarked on a countrywide outreach program, with a particular focus on questions and answers.

Detainees moved to new complex in Freetown

The Court has moved its detainees from a temporary detention facility on Bonthe Island to the newly constructed high-security detention facility in Freetown. This gives the lawyers easy access to their clients and families the opportunity to visit the detainees.

Special Court maintain its stand on the indictment of Charles Taylor

In reaction to the exile of Charles Taylor to Nigeria, the Special Court acknowledges that though his removal from power is significant yet it is an incomplete step forward for West Africa. The Court stands firm that Charles Taylor must be brought to justice in order for the region to experience stable peace. Ex-President Charles Taylor has challenged the court's jurisdiction to prosecute him.

TRUTH AND RECONCILATION COMMISSION (TRC)

TRC closes public hearings

The Commission formerly closed its public hearing phase in August by organizing a march past that was climaxed by the renaming of the Congo Cross Bridge to 'Peace Bridge' in Freetown. The Commission had asked for a 6 months extension to finalise its report. In collaboration with their partners, they are currently seeking out for appropriate ways to disseminate the contents of the report.

President Kabbah gives testimony at the TRC

The commission held public hearings with President Kabbah on Tuesday 5 August. The president gave testimony of his past experience as President of the nation. He pointed to the fact that he inherited the war from the NPRC military regime, as a democratically elected president. He also mentioned that he inherited a distorted security system with a highly politicized army that was not loyal to the government, and was faced with the challenge of restoring the national security but, was unfortunately ousted by the AFRC coup in 1997. The President avoided commenting on the current indictees, but cleared the mind of the populace on a possible extension of his office come 2007. He called for the criminalisation of any President for any attempt to extend his stay in office.

HUMANITARIAN HIGHLIGHTS

Western area Rural District Recovery Committee (DRC) to be launched

The western rural District Recovery Committee would be launched on Thursday 4 September. The committee with technical support from NaCSA, UNOCHA, UNAMSIL and line ministries are on a sensitization tour of communities in the Rural District. Meetings with the people have been very significant as communities get to understand the role of the DRC. It also gives them the opportunity to dialogue with line ministries on several concerns.

To enhance the capacity of members of the Urban District Recovery Committee, UNAMSIL, OCHA and NaCSA intend to facilitate a half-day workshop for DRC urban members on the role and significance of the DRC in the communities.

NRC/DRC meeting held in Moyamba

The joint session meeting of the National Recovery Committee and District Recovery Committee for Moyamba District was held on the 12 August 2003, at the Harford Secondary School for Girls. There were over one hundred participants including members of parliament, cabinet ministers, local dignitaries, donors, NRC and DRC members and security forces. Highlights of the occasion included site visits, presentation of DRC report followed by discussions and donor pledges. OCHA and UNAMSIL Civil Affairs facilitated the Moyamba and Bonthe DRC members to compile their respective District Recovery Reports for consideration at the NRC meeting.

NaCSA on community sensitization for the National Social Action Plan

In a bid to ensure full communities participation in the National Social Action Program (NSAP), NaCSA is on a series of sensitization meetings using the Participatory Poverty Assessment approach in their communities of intervention throughout the country.

SUBREGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

LIBERIA

Liberia President visits Sierra Leone

The Liberian President, Moses Blah, accompanied by Former Nigerian Head of State Abubakar Abdulsalam and other dignitaries briefly visited Lungi Airport, where they met with President Kabbah on 22 August. President Blah expressed regret for his country's role in Sierra Leone's civil war, and assured Sierra Leoneans that the past will not be repeated. He stated that his mission was to extend a hand of friendship to the people of Sierra Leone and expressed their willingness to apologise to the people of Sierra Leone. President Blah invited President Kabbah to visit Monrovia. In response, President Kabbah accepted the invitation stating that his government had no problem with the people of Liberia, but only with Taylor as an individual.

U.N. SRSG to Liberia visits Sierra Leone

The new U.N. SRSG for Liberia, Jacques Klein met with President Kabba and his Vice President in Freetown on Tuesday 26 August. His visit was part of a sub regional tour to discuss Liberia situation with West African Leaders. He also met with U.S. Ambassador Peter Chaveas, Special Court Chief Prosecutor David Crane, and senior UNAMSIL staff. While expressing his concern over the humanitarian situation in Liberia, he also hoped that a U.N. mandate for a peacekeeping force in Liberia would be forthcoming between mid September and the beginning of October.

The Interim Liberia leader chosen in Accra, Ghana

After two months of staggering peace talks in Accra, the businessman Gyde Bryant was on 22 August unanimously appointed as the head of the interim government for Liberia. Bryant would be sworn in as the chairman of the interim government in October and remains in power until 2004 when general elections would be held. Wesley Johnson, chairman of the United People's Party, is his Vice President. Bryant edged out Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a veteran opposition figure and a former UN official, and Rudolph Sherman, a member of the Whig Party.

Liberia finally signs Peace Agreement

The government of Liberia and the two fighting rebel factions finally signed peace agreement on Monday 18 August after almost two months of though negotiations in Accra. The peace agreement is hoped to end 14 years of war in Liberia and provides for a two-year transitional government that will be inclusive of the three fighting factions though none is to hold the top positions.

Monrovia gradually returns to peace as Charles Taylor hands over power

Life seems to be gradually picking up in Monrovia after President Taylor finally handed over power to his vice President Moses Blah, in a solemn ceremony attended by the South African President Thabo Mbeki, the Ghanian President John Kuffoir, and representatives of other West African states, at the Presidential lodge in Monrovia on Monday 11 August. President Taylor was immediately flown to Nigeria where he was offered political asylum on the strict warning that he stays out of Liberia politics.

The ECCOMIL forces and some US marines had moved into the city bringing much security relief to the people. The UN and ECOWAS are to work out modalities for a full deployment of peacekeeping forces throughout the country and a disarmament program for the fighting forces similar to that of Sierra Leone. Some 250 Senegalese and Malian troops are expected to join ECOMIL soon while other West African countries are yet to make their commitments. Though the rebels have pulled out of the city in their fulfillment of the peace agreement, fighting is still reported in Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties in the interior of the country. ECOMIL however, recently visited Tubmanburg in Bomi County and Bo Waterside on the Sierra Leonean border for a possible future deployment of forces.

The UN Agencies and some humanitarian organizations have returned to Monrovia and started giving humanitarian aid to the IDPs in the city, while making efforts to access the interior especially areas held by the rebel forces. In a related development, the government of Sierra Leone has taken measures to prevent ex-combatants as well as looted goods from entering the country from Liberia.

Ship carrying relief items for Liberia sinks

A Sierra Leonean ship Madam Patricia, chartered by the charity agency, World Vision sunk in a storm on Saturday 16 August on its way to Liberia. The 22-crew members were rescued by a helicopter but the goods worth $186,000 of relief items all sunk.

SECTORAL HIGHLIGHTS

AGRICULTURE

FAO, UNHCR and MAFFS collaborate on agriculture support to camps

In a bid to augment the food basket of refugees in the eight refugee camps and the host community, FAO in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security prepared a package comprising upland and inland valley swamp rice, groundnut and vegetable seeds for the first and second cropping seasons. The UNHCR is funding this activity.

CRS distributes food for Agriculture

CRS completed a Food-for-Agriculture distribution during the cropping season for a total of 8,420 farm families. in Bombali, Kailahun, Koinadugu and Kenema districts. CRS also continues to assist other agencies in CRS operational areas on Food-for-Agriculture distributions.

FAO to construct grain stores for CRS

FAO will be constructing grain stores in CRS operational areas. Participating communities have already been identified and selected.

NGOs collaborate to develop an agricultural marketing concept paper

CRS, AFRICARE, CARE, and World Vision are collaborating on a joint agricultural marketing concept paper to complement the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

FAO gives support to Liberian refugee farmers

FAO supported Liberian refugee farmers with cassava cutting project and the procurement of vegetable, groundnut seeds and seed rice for 11000 farm family members.

WFP holds workshop with IPs on protective relief and recovery operations in Kenema

A 2-day Workshop was held by WFP for Implementing Partners in Kenema on the Protective Relief and Recovery Operation. WFP stressed that the Sierra Leone program has to be viewed in a Regional context, and that food may be provided on a loan basis. They informed that the organization is in a transition from emergency relief activities to recovery, which imply that they would focus on a more integrated approach, such as mother and health, developmental school feeding programs and seed protection/sustainable seed bank systems. They informed that Food for Agriculture would be phased out by end of 2003, with new programs providing support to beneficiaries in a more holistic approach, by using food as tools to enhance community progress.

EDUCATION

Ministry of Finance conducts survey on budget allocated to various ministries

The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) unit of the Ministry of Finance started a monitoring survey of budgets allocated to the various Government line ministries in the country to ascertain transparency and accountability of dispensation. The PETS did a pilot survey with the ministry of education, targeting six schools in each district. Specifically, the survey was to examine the service delivery system of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology. The full-scale survey is to commence on 8 September.

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) schools construction work in Kono constrained by poor roads

The ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction of two primary schools in Kono by NRC, funded by DFID, was constrained by the depreciation of the access road to one of the sites - KDEC Dewadu. However, DFID approved the use of contingency funds to reconstruct a bridge leading to the school. The communities also actively participated in this exercise. The bridge has been repaired but time is needed for the concrete to cure which means that the construction work is temporarily halted until 22 September. Construction activities at the other school in Canaan are smoothly progressing and nearing completion.

NRC develops education project proposal for Kambia District

NRC submitted a finalised project proposal for the World Bank/ADB basic education project, REBEP. The revised proposal takes into consideration comments and suggestions made by the Project Co-ordination Unit (PCU). A total of 15 schools would be rehabilitated or reconstructed with support under the project. NRC awaits approval.

CHILD PROTECTION

MSWGCA on family tracing of war affected children

The Child Protection Secretariat of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs informed that there are presently 9,710 children looking for their families, 6,619 families are looking for missing children and 6,680 children have been returned to their families. The Secretariat works with many agencies including UNHCR, IRC, COOPI and Save the Children Fund-UK to rescue destitute children.

NACWAC on operation clear street children

The national commission for war affected children in working on the rehabilitation of street children has established a series of permanent centers in the city where the children would be provided with shelter and basic skill training. They intend to unify these children with their parents or find them foster parents.

FOOD AID

WFP COUNTRYWIDE SUPPORT

Countrywide, WFP supported a total of 59,780 beneficiaries (34,998 female) with 1521.06 MT of food during the reporting period. Vulnerable group feeding (VGF) program (refugees, resettlement, returnees and institutions) supported 36,357 beneficiaries (20,398 female) with 759.67 MT of food. The Therapeutic Feeding Centers/ Supplementary Feeding/ and Mother and Child Health Program (TFC/SFP/MCH) provided 36.3 MT of food to 8,585 beneficiaries comprising under-fives, pregnant women, lactating mothers and TFC caretakers. Safety nets (Institutional Feeding) provided 1,268 (624 female) beneficiaries with 15.68 Mt of food aid.

Food for Agriculture program distributed 107.93 Mt of assorted food items for farm families in Luawa, Kissi Tongi, Dae, Mandu, Kissi Kama and Kissi Teng chiefdoms in Kailahun district.

The Therapeutic Feeding Center in Kenema distributed 0.42 Mt of food items to 272 beneficiaries and 3.31 Mt to 205 caretakers. In addition 4.692 Mt of food were distributed to 272 beneficiaries in Kenema Government hospital and 0.900 Mt of food were dispatched to 158 beneficiaries in Gondama camp.

The Vulnerable Group Feeding resettlement program received 151.98 Mt of food for 4,656 beneficiaries in Kissi Tongi and Luawa chiefdoms. In addition 2.09 Mt of food items were also distributed to 337 beneficiaries at the Mapeh camp.

Support for grinding machines for refugee camps

WFP has received a positive response of potential funding for the proposal to purchase and install hand grinders for all but one of the camps. WFP is still awaiting confirmation of funds from donor agents.

HEALTH

President Kabbah opens rehabilitated Koindu Hospital in Kono

On Wednesday 28 August, President Kabbah opened the newly rehabilitated Government Hospital in Koidu Town, Kono District. The US Government under USAID did the rehabilitation which costs $579,765. This move now provides the Kono residents with the facility of a modern hospital since it was destroyed during the war.

CRS provides furniture for PHUs in Pujehun and Kailahun

CRS purchased furniture for 9 peripheral public health units that it is supporting construction of, in Pujehun and Kailahun districts.

WHO on Lassa Fever surveillance

WHO in collaboration with MERLIN continued with lassa fever surveillance in the refugee camps through sensitization campaigns on food and safe drinking water and the protection and control of rats. Two suspected cases from Jimmi Bagbo camp were admitted at the Kenema General Hospital. One referred case from Largo died while en-route to the Kenema Government Hospital. It was also observed that refugees in Largo do not report the deaths of their relatives to the clinic before burial. MERLIN is sensitizing refugees that a death certificate cannot be issued without knowing the cause of death. WHO also noted that though safe drinking water and toilet facilities have improves in most of the camps, the incidence of malaria is still prevalent.

Outbreak of Yellow Fever in Tonkolili District

Following reports of a yellow fever out-break in the Bumbuna area in the Kalansogoaia Chiefdom, there were recent reports of cases in Kolipha Rowala, Samaia Bendugu and Kafe Simra Chiefdoms too. WHO team of vaccinators has been giving vaccines to all residents in the district. They are also doing sensitization of communities on the disease and they intend to extend the exercise to the neighbouring districts. Findings of WHO revealed that the recent cause of the disease is indigenous.

HIV/AIDS

CCSL launches HIV/AIDS poster competition

The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) in collaboration with the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat and other partners have launched a Global Poster Competition against HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination. The theme of the competition was 'Make a poster.. Make a statement.. Make a difference!' The weeklong national poster competition emphasised the relevance of HIV/AIDS to churches, mosques and community groups, teaching them about the subject and deepening their understanding about stigma and discrimination associated with the disease. Local competitions were held in Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Kono. Several posters were developed, carrying messages of compassion love and care, depicting positive attitudes and behaviours to overcome HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination.

Caritas-Makeni holds workshop on HIV/AIDS Peer Education in Bombali District

Under the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Caritas-Makeni in collaboration with the Shepherd's Hospice, held a two days training workshop for 37 teachers and health officer on HIV/AIDS Peer Education Training in Makeni. The training sought to increase the knowledge of participants on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and the development of positive behaviour change.

HUMAN RIGHTS

The Human Rights Committee facilitated by UNAMSIL continues its regular fortnightly meetings and is planning to conduct a training of Human Rights Monitors nationwide.

CRS trains CDCs on peace building

The CRS Peace building team completed the training of community development committees (CDC) in 15 chiefdoms in the South and East provinces.

INFORMATION

Establishment of an information management committee

An Information Management Committee has been established under the National Recovery Committee (NRC) Technical Committee, developed from an informal OCHA-led GIS User Group and the PASCO led Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. The objective is to improve strategic development planning and resource allocation mechanisms through data analysis. The committee would be responsible for the coordination of information management systems in relation with the monitoring of national strategies and coordination of development assistance such as the National Recovery Strategy and the coming PRSP.

Government to validate sectoral district data pack

Facilitated by OCHA, the new sectoral data packs from the 2nd data collection exercise of the district recovery committees are currently being validated by the relevant government ministries and would be ready for distribution in September.

REFUGEE

Refugees movement in the border areas

The UNHCR reported that the movement of refugee convoys into and from the border areas remained sparse. In Kailahun, 349 Liberian refugees in 158 families entered Sierra Leone this month and were transferred to the Largo camp. Meanwhile, the ICRC facilitated visits of some 87 family members to interned refugees at Mapeh in Port Loko. Also a convoy of 400 refugees were organized and transferred to Tobanda camp from Blama and Dauda way station.


REFUGEE POPULATION - UNHCR
Location
Pre-registration
Current population
Bandajuma camp
6,011
4,448
Gerrihun camp
6,835
6,738
Gondama camp
9,025
8,440
Jembe camp
6,952
6,987
Jimmi Bagbo camp
6,527
6,042
Largo camp
7,301
7,016
Taiiama camp
7,511
6,924
Tobanda camp
4,474
6,490
Blama waystation
499
Dauda waystation
447
Jui waystation
62
Kailahun waystation
13
24
Zimmi waystation
181
Total
54,649
54,298

LFW donates used clothes to UNHCR

LWF offered to UNHCR a donation of three containers of NFI from Lutheran World Relief in Baltimore USA for distribution in the refugee camps. The items are worth $237,000 and consist of men and children's clothing, blankets, quilts, layettes, soap and health kits.

MSF-B holds hygiene workshop in Gondama camp

MSF-B has conducted a three-day training-of-trainers workshop for 30 hygiene promoters in Gondama including refugees and host community members.

Lutheran World Federation distributes second hand clothing to refugees in Bo and Kenema

Lutheran World Federation distributed second-hand clothing to refugees in Kenema and Bo, and 100 pieces of mentor plastic sheets for use in Tobanda Camp.

The Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) conducts workshop in Gondama camp

The Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) conducted a three-day workshop in Gondama focusing on the production of eco-stoves, sustainable agriculture, income generation, and awareness rising. A group was formed to monitor the implementation of activities and further sensitize refugees. EFA have also trained 14 individuals on the use of GPS and GIS in order to support EFA staff in mapping farms and gardens within the camp.

RETURNEE/DISPLACED REPATRIATION/RESETTLEMENT

Due to the heavy rains, the UNHCR suspended repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees from Guinea this month.

UNHCR resumes returnee repatriation from Monrovia

The UNHCR hired ship MV Overbeck resumed its sailing to Monrovia on 13 August following the improved security situation. The ship left the shores of Sierra Leone carrying non-food items for Liberia emergency, diesel fuel for the office and food for the HCR staff, and returned to Freetown on 19 August with 206 returnees the majority Sierra Leoneans. The returnees were taken to the Jui transient center where the children under five years were given measles vaccine and those enroute to Tonkolili district were given yellow fever vaccine. The ship however encountered mechanical problems on its second trip but was rescued and towed into Freetown with the returnees safely on board.

SHELTER

CRS proceeds with housing projects in Koinadugu, Kailahun and Grafton

The Catholic Relief Services have completed the shelter projects in Koinadugu and Kailahun.

The transitional housing project at Grafton in Freetown is in progress. Forty-one houses have already been roofed, and they are working with the Ministry of Lands to procure the title deeds for individual beneficiaries.

WATSAN

UNICEF, OCHA and partners on WATSAN survey

UNICEF in collaboration with UNHCR, UNAMSIL CIVIL Affairs, UNOCHA, WATSAN stakeholders and the Kambia DRC conducted an assessment of WATSAN facilities in the district from the 15 July to 5 August. It was discovered that certain large communities lack toilet facility, especially market centers. It was also discovered that some communities had wells with faulty pumps that could be repaired. They intend to conduct the survey throughout the country to provide a complete situation analysis of the coverage in water and sanitation sector. The survey will also provide the local government with a database of all water and sanitation facilities, which they can continue to update and monitor on their own. A continuation of the survey is scheduled for 15 September in Kailahun and 22 September in Kono.

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

SOUTHERN REGION

Security

The region remains calm and quiet likewise the border area of the Zimmi axis with no sign of refugee influx.

Refugees riot at Bandajuma refugee camp

The on going distribution of plastic sheets to communities in Phase II of the camp was disrupted on the 28 August, when a group of 40 to 50 refugees materialized from Phase III communities singing and chanting invectives at the camp management because they were informed that they would not be supplied with plastic sheets until the next season. As the situation became uncontrollable, the riot Police were called upon, who eventually controlled the crowd. A meeting was summoned between representatives of the rioters and the Country Director and Coordinator of Peace Winds Japan, the Paramount Chief of Sowa Chiefdom, Camp manager, representatives from NaCSA, UNHCR, OCHA and the Police Inspector in charge of the camp. The policy on the supply of plastic sheeting was clarified to the refugees while the aid workers promised to consider their case. A strict warning was given to the rioters to avoid the consequences of the law.

Political

Inter Agency Forum

At the IAF in Bo, the poor attendance by representatives of line ministries was again noted. Some key issues deliberated upon were:

  • NaCSA in collaboration with UNHCR received proposals for Community Projects and approved six of these projects amounting to $10,000. Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) exercises have been conducted in the approved communities,

  • Ministry for Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs conducted a capacity building workshop for 50 children in Bo District and also reaffirmed the need for a Remand Home and the registration of Amputees in the region through UNAMSIL and FAO respectively,

  • Ministry of Education, Science and Technology requested agencies work plans and reported the commencement of HIPC projects in the region but were particularly not pleased with the materials used at Serabu,

  • Of concern was the extra charges levied by school authorities on parents who were advised to resist such activities,

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security reported of the distribution of inputs to farmers and the conduct of Regional and National elections for the National Farmers Association,

  • MILOB reported complaints from ex-combatants about their tool kits.

Agencies Consultative Meetings

At the agencies consultative meeting, WATSAN, Laser fever, replacement of plastic sheeting, camp verification, agriculture support and the pending rape cases in the Magistrate Court were of key concerns. Other issues discussed included: the non-conduct of night patrols at Gondama Refugee Camp; request for the completion of the health center at Gondama; improvement of roads network to promote agriculture, and support to the agricultural sector; mining policies for Rutile and Bauxite minerals to benefit the people; decentralization process and the role of Paramount Chiefs in the Councils to be established; utilization of the water falls within the district for rural energy supply and provision of safe drinking water to rural communities; the provision of training facilities for youth empowerment and the conversion of railway facilities to youth training centers at Rotifunk and Bauya.

AGRICULTURE

National Farmers Association Executive Elections held in Bo Town

The Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, District Authorities, the Electoral Commission and local residents participated in the conduct of election of President and Executives of the National Farmers Association.

Niawa Lenga Chiefdom responds to the Presidents clarion call for food security.

In a bid to contribute to food self-sufficiency by the year 2007, the Paramount Chief and the people of Niawa Lenga Chiefdom have embarked on extensive rice and groundnut cultivation in the chiefdom. To enhance additional cultivation, the Paramount Chief is appealing to humanitarian agencies to support road network in the Chiefdom with the view to reach out more farmers and improve market possibilities of their produce.

EDUCATION

Paramount Chief of Valunia Chiefdom appeals for the rehabilitation of Koyeima Secondary School in Bo district

Though funds have been allocated for the rehabilitation of this school, the work has not commenced yet. Being the main provider of education and job opportunity for the people of the Chiefdom, the Paramount chief is appealing for the rehabilitation work to commence.

CAMP MANAGEMENT

Gondama Refugee Camp

The constructions of permanent school structures are in progress and two of them have attained wall height. Also, the plastering of the skills training classroom blocks is complete with doors and windows fitted.

The construction of a center for SGBV activities is also in progress.

Jimmy Bagbo Camp - Peace Winds Japan

Under the overall management of Peace Wind Japan the following are reported;

- Refugees plead for the replacement of worn out plastic sheeting on family booths in the camp.

- YMCA supplied 35 bales of used clothing to refugees in Jimmy Bagbo camp while NaCSA, PWJ and UNHCR monitored the distribution.

- PWJ and MSF conducted a joint assessment of sanitary conditions in the camp

- UNHCR Community Services Officers in Bo and Kenema held HIV/AIDS sensitization in the camp on 6 August 2003.

- Food distribution commenced on 13 August. A pre-distribution exercise was conducted with participants from UNHCR, NaCSA, PWJ, Camp Management and WFP.

- The 26 hand dug wells were all treated with chlorine. The PWJ sanitation team continues with the application of chemicals to the existing two hundred and fifty-two family latrines in the camp and the excavation of garbage pits and the closing of those that are full.

- Network Movement for Female Ministers and Parliamentarians held a one-day sensitization meeting with the people of Bagbe Chiefdom on the education of girl children.

Taiama Refugee Camp management

Under the overall management of Africa Concern, the following were accomplished: food distribution for the month accomplished:

- Buckets were distributed to 1,000 refugees, blankets were distributed to 158 vulnerable mostly aged and physically handicapped;

- 117 aged refugees were supplied with used clothing and sanitary kits were distributed to 2,015 women;

- The construction of a WFP warehouse by NRC is fast progressing;

- 279 houses have been completed and about to be occupied;

- The construction of GBV center is nearing completion and the psychosocial center being constructed by CCF is also in progress.

EASTERN REGION

Security

The general security situation remains calm in the region. The RSLAF troops are repositioning their troops along the border with the 14th-battalion RSLAF headquarters based in Zimmi gradually being moved to Pujehun Town amongst other planned relocations of troops.

In Kono due to the increase in the crime rate, eight Police posts have been erected within the Koidu Township in areas considered notorious for committing crimes.

In Kailahun, a small group of LURD rebels raided the border village of Saama in search of AFL soldiers early August. No deaths were reported but three Sierra Leoneans were arrested and later released after the intervention of the Sierra Leonean forces.

An illegal bridge constructed to Link Sierra Leone to Guinea

A team comprising Civil Affairs, UNOCHA, District Office Staff and Paramount Chief of Lei Chiefdom led by MILOBS visited Lewah village in the Lei Chiefdom in Kono District, to investigate allegation about the fabrication of a hanging bridge over the Mele River between Sierra Leone and Guinea. It was discovered that the bridge was constructed by the Guineans and is currently used for smuggling of local foodstuff and goods in and out of the country.

UNHCR provides SLP with one vehicle for police patrols

UNHCR has provided the SLP Police in Kenema with a vehicle to conduct patrols in two of its Refugee camps - Tobanda and Largo.

Political

Refugee camp management elections held in Tobanda camp

Supervised by NaCSA, camp management, the police and UNHCR, the refugee general elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere in Tobanda Camp. However, some controversies erupted over the election results and NaCSA has mandated the previous interim caretaker executive to temporarily rule until the controversies are resolved.

Ministry of Mineral Resources revoked mining licenses in Kono

The mines division of the Ministry of Mineral Resources revoked 28 diamond mining licenses of which 14 has been withdrawn from the holders, whilst the other 14 are yet to surrender theirs to the Mines Office in Koidu. The withdrawal of the licenses is due to their illegal mining within the Koidu Township at a location commonly called Kaisambo. Government had band mining within the township as it posed environmental hazard.

Ministry of Mines encourage diamond miners to acquire mining licenses in Kono

As a way of encouraging miners to acquire licenses, the Ministry of Mines distributed cheques to chiefdoms as a percentage on the sale of their licenses in their various chiefdoms. The cheques were written in the name of the Chiefdom Development Committees (CDCs), which implies that the proceeds must be utilized for the general good of the communities. A total of Le 286,147,322/00 was distributed amongst 6 chiefdoms.

UNOCHA facilitates DRCs work in the region

UNOCHA and UNAMSIL Civil Affairs supported DRC teams in visiting nine Chiefdom Recovery Committees for discussing priority issues to be included in the NRC report for Kenema District. The Kenema DRC Committee continues to meet regularly every forthnight, with irregular attendance by the main line ministries. UNOCHA also facilitated a meeting with DRC Chairman of Pujehun for NRC planning purposes and participation in the Moyamba NRC meeting. In Kono, OCHA in collaboration with UNAMSIL Civil Affairs is facilitating the compilation of the DRC report. Also in Kailahun OCHA continues to facilitate the DRC in their regular meetings to discuss their progress and challenges in the recovery process.

Refugee/ returnee movement in Kailahun border area

In Kailahun, UNHCR received 115 self-settled refugees and four refugees who transited through Guinea at the Kailahun Way Station. Following a sensitization campaign recently carried out to promote the relocation of refugees to UNHCR camps, 63 Liberian refugees in 32 families also arrived on foot at the same Way Station. A flowchart indicating a weekly tentative influx on to December 2003, and the current Camp and WS capacity to absorb new refugee arrivals has been prepared by UNOCHA and UNHCR.

Health

UNFPA donates equipment and drugs for STDs and STIs in Largo camp

Delivery equipment and essential drugs for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) treatment was donated by UNFPA for use by MERLIN at the Largo Camp clinic.

Roads

Deplorable road to Kailahun

The Kenema Kailahun roads, especially between Kailahun and Daru have deteriorated considerably. Few commercial drivers brave this road, as it is very risky. There is an ongoing effort by the community people to strengthen the road foundation by spreading gravel but this is not making much impact due to the rains.

Shelter

Bo/Pujehun Development Association (BPDA) aids Gondama Camp

The construction of individual booths has accelerated in Gondama following the logistics support of BPDA. The camp presently has 1,152 refugees still occupying communal booths. The renovation of 140 vulnerable booths in Gerihun camp has also been completed.

Watsan

UNHCR aids Zimmi Way Station in water supply

UNHCR has placed a water tanker in Zimmi in order to address the present constraints of providing water at the Way Station. The tanker will be returned to Kailahun when the water-pumping machine used to refill the bladder is being repaired.

Agriculture

CARE provides hunting nets and seed rice for refugees in Gerihun

CARE provided hunting nets for refugees in Gerihun camp and the Host Community in order to control rodents from destroying their crops. They also provided inland valley swamp seed rice for the remaining registered refugee farmers in the camp. A day's workshop was conducted with 40 camp and host community participants on the importance of environment protection, such as planting and maintaining trees.

FAO gives cassava cutting to refugees in Jimmy Bagbo camp

A total of 750 farm families in Jimmi Bagbo were issued cassava cuttings by FAO.

MSF-Belgium holds hygiene workshop in Gondama camp

MSF-B conducted a three-day training-of-trainers workshop for 30 hygiene promoters in Gondama including refugees and host community members.

The Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) conducts workshop on eco-stove in Gondama camp

The EFA conducted a three-day workshop in Gondama on the production of eco-stoves, sustainable agriculture, income generation, and awareness rising. A group was formed to monitor the implementation of activities and further sensitize refugees. EFA also trained 14 individuals on the use of GPS and GIS in order to support EFA staff in mapping farms and gardens within the camp.

NORTHERN REGION

Security

The security in the region remains calm with regular border patrols by the armed forces and a significant reduction in crime rates. The ongoing UNAMSIL draw down process in the Makeni Town saw the withdrawal of NIBATT 16 this month, following the previous departure of NIBATT 15 from the township. A company from BANBATT 8 at Magburaka took over the Makeni area to cover Bombali and Koinadugu districts.

Political

Secessionist Sections

Two sections in the Leibesaygahun chiefdom, Bombali District have been agitating for secession. The District Office has been investigating the matter.

Inauguration of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) in Makeni

The Vice President inaugurated the NASSIT Office in Makeni, on 21 August. During the inauguration ceremony curious community people and government workers were informed about the benefits of the insurance trust. The Vice President appealed to all workers to participate in the scheme so that they would gain financial benefits and be protected during their old age.

NCDDR

The commission conducted a workshop on the theme, 'Information on Employment Opportunities' for 175 youths enrolled in their program, on Tuesday 19 August.

Restoration of civil authority and government activities

The Port Loko and Lunsar Magistrate Courts, rehabilitated by NaCSA in partnership with UNDP, were handed over to the Port Loko and Lunsar communities on 5 August. It is anticipated that these structures will enhance the rule of law in these communities.

In another development, NaCSA in partnership with UNDP supported all district offices in the region with computers, printers and accessories, generators and HF radios. The support is to enhance the capacities of the districts offices in the communication and implementation of official tasks.

District Recovery Committee Activities

UNOCHA, in collaboration with UNAMSIL Civil Affairs provided technical inputs to all DRCs in the region. Tonkolili District DRC started the report writing for the pending NRC/DRC session on the 14 October. Koinadugu DRC had the following suggestions at their last meeting:

  • That an overall district oversight committee be instituted to monitor and evaluate implementing partner's quality and capacity of work done.

  • That profile of humanitarian organizations be established to show what they do, where they do it, how much and of what quality.

  • That the DRC in collaboration with UNOCHA and other partners should sensitize all CRCs on the DRC dispensation and on the roles and responsibilities of the CRC.

  • That they should establish guidelines for CRC reporting.

  • That they identify and prioritize strategic activities the CRCs could undertake, in preparation for the NSAP funding so that the district will benefit meaningfully and maximally.

In addition to conducting regular meetings, the Port Loko DRC developed an action plan to be followed for the rest of the year, as well as project proposals for implementation through the CRCs.

Agriculture

National Farmers Association distributes seed rice in Makeni

The National Farmers Association of Sierra Leone, Kambia District Branch, supported by HPIC Funds, distributed 660 bushels of seed rice and 500 bushels of seed groundnut to farm families in seven chiefdoms in the district.

NGOs distribute seed rice to farmers in Koinadugu District

NGOS operating in Koinadugu district distributed 4,592 bushels of seed rice to farmers in all eleven chiefdoms in the district. Seed groundnuts, vegetables, cassava cuttings and potato vines were also distributed to the farmers. The Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), in support, conducted trainings in basic agricultural techniques such as rice cultivation, agro-forestry and lumbering.

Residents in the north express concern over smuggling of food items to Guinea

Residents in the region have raised concerns over the smuggling of food items into Guinea from chiefdoms lying along the border. This has impacted by creating food scarcity especially in this rainy season usually the hunger period.

Child protection

The Child Protection Committee members in Kabala have been very instrumental in forming child welfare committees in the township and its immediate environs. The committee members were trained for capacity building for the task ahead of them.

Education

Over $3 million allotted for schools rehabilitation in Koinadugu District

During the Inter Agency Forum at Kabala on 5 August, the Inspector of Schools announced that $3,320.788 has been allocated for the rehabilitation of schools in Koinadugu district under the Rehabilitation of Basic Education Project (REBEP) funding. The projects will target schools in all eleven chiefdoms in the district and will cover the rehabilitating work, provision of furniture and teacher training.

Health

UNICEF donates solar powered refrigerators to PHUs in the North

UNICEF donated solar-powered refrigerators to Primary Health Units in the Kambia, Tonkolili and Bombali districts.

MSF-Belgium to withdraw from Kabala by December 2003

With the emergency phase gradually drawing to an end, MSF-B has reached an agreement with MOHS to withdraw from the Kabala Hospital by the end of the year. However, MSF-B will extend its operations to other parts of Koinadugu district whilst MOHS will take over operations in the hospital.

Women's empowerment

CGG gives micro credit to women in Koinadugu District

The local NGO, Campaign For Good Governance (CGG) supported thirty women in Koinadugu district through a micro-credit scheme. The NGO operates a soft loan scheme payable within three months geared towards empowerment of women.

Roads

UNDP on roads rehabilitation in Kambia District

The UNDP funded road rehabilitation program is ongoing in Tonko Limba and Magbema chiefdoms in Kambia district.

Information

UNOCHA collates District Directory for Makeni

UNOCHA - North collected information for a district directory for all humanitarian organizations in Makeni. This has been collated and sent for the attention of the National Field Coordinator. Finalized document would be circulated to partners in September.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.